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Old June 22, 2002, 10:07 AM   #1
Rick R
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325gr swc in .44Mag

A gent I've known for years gave me some 325gr lswc gas checked bullets the other day, but he didn't know what data to use for loading them. Apparently, he just got the mold and cast up a bunch to give his "beta" testers. They look like they'd be dandy for launching at our ferocious 100 lb. whitetail deer.

What powder and load is anyone using with this bullet weight?

I called Sierra and they suggested a starting load with AA#7 and W296. I've tried both, recoil was stout, cases had obturated against the case walls and primers were somewhat flattened. Accuracy was about 2" at 25 yds from my 6" M629 with open sights, but that might be partly because I need to practice a bit more with the hand howitzer.


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Old June 22, 2002, 10:27 AM   #2
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Might be thinking "14.8g AA9 MAX" or "19.0g W296 MAX!!!" or "jeez, mebbe these are too much for my 29".

Seriously, W296 works great, CCI350/Fed155's, Redding Profile Crimp die (heavy), OAL use groove, but I'd stay under 19.0g.

Might, if it were my S&W (not; all Redhawks), start at 17.0g and use a chrono...........

AA9 is good, but I'd check with Accurate for that weight bullet.........
What W296 charge did Sierra recommend? I'd be using that information (wisely LOL)..........
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old June 22, 2002, 10:50 AM   #3
Rick R
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Sierra tech seemed to think that I needed to work between 18 and 19 grains of W296 and he wasn't clear what a Max load would be. He didn't think I should go much below 18.5 gr because W296 can be erratic in light loads. In fairness he works for a company that makes jacketed bullets and their heaviest .429 bullet is a 300 grainer.

I've found data on the Net going up to 21.5 gr. of W296 but probably not going to put these in my gun. After shooting thirty of the starting loads the other day I needed to take my wrist home and soak it in a cold beer.

To my way of thinking these 325 gr bullets are heavy enough to kill deer if you throw them overhanded much less shoot them out of a gun! I don't think I'll go much heavier than my starting load of 18.4 gr. but I do need to dig the Chrony out and see how fast they're going.

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Old June 22, 2002, 11:19 AM   #4
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I use Lymans 300 gr GC mould and they fall out at 320 gr with wheelweights and GC. I worked this load up to 18.0 gr of 2400 and clocked em at 1401 fps, avg 10 rnds.

These loads are probably at or above max so I wouldn't suggest using this data unless you start at about 15.0 gr and work it up in your RUGER OR TC CONTENDER gun. I have a 7.5" Redhawk & SBH that these loads are used in. I wouldn't put them in a S&W. The cases eject by gravity only, have no flattened primers, or any high pressure signs. I get consistent results with 2400 and they are quite a hand full.

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Old June 26, 2002, 01:25 AM   #5
Rick R
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I think I've got it!

Well I played with 18.5 -19.5 grains and had some very inconsistent velocity readings for each five round sample. Then when I got to 20.0 gr of W296 things evened out and all five rounds were within ten fps of each other and the averate velocity was a nice 1240 fps. I also used new unfired primed Winchester brass and all of these loads extracted with light thumb pressure on the ejector rod.

I think I've stopped there, if a 325gr bullet at 1200 fps doesn't kill a critter, I shouldn't have been hunting it with a handgun to begin with.

Thanks for the input guys.

Remember: My gun is magically held together and will withstand loads way hotter than anyother M629. These loadings were tested on another planet where the electromagnetic field helps them resist detonation. Don't try any of my handload recipes in your gun on this planet!
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Old June 28, 2002, 07:02 AM   #6
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Sounds like you've found what you were looking for. This load should kill at least 3 deer standing side by side.
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Old June 29, 2002, 01:23 AM   #7
jack pringle
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my beautiful, and old, M29 has been relegated to moderate loads for decades. for the tough stuff i use only my SRH and SBH. some loads will knock down trees and turn over cars. nope, i don't recommend any handloads to others. start low and work up. you are on your own. use new brass on the toughies.

have used some 300 grainers and such. have found no real need, for myself that is. even the moderate 240's go clear through whitetails. if i were hunting huge hogs though, the bigger and badder the better.

i didn't say i didn't shoot 300's+. they are fun stuff when just messing around. go for it.

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Old June 30, 2002, 03:52 PM   #8
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Old July 1, 2002, 02:20 PM   #9
Rick R
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Mr. Pringle,
Thanks for the input, my M629 is about ten years old and is a "Classic Hunter" before they started engraving that on them. It has the underlugged barrel and unfluted cylinder, but it's still just a M29 at heart so I'm not going to push it and these only go into new brass from now on after seeing the difference it makes.

If I just dreamed of Whitetails a .357 would suffice but we do have a wild Boar season and some sizeable Black Bears too, so my S&W may go in search of bigger things.

Thanks for the data.

FWIW, I fired five of these through my 4" Mountain Gun to see what they felt like as a Boar/Bear/Dinosaur backup gun. I think I'd rather be eaten...

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